Cité de la santé reaps results from safety reforms

Study shows Laval death rates lower than Canadian norm
By Robert Frank

Laval’s superhospital death rates are lower than the national baseline, a new study released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information ( shows.

The Ottawa-based research group collected data from hospitals across Canada to compare the rate of deaths at specific hospitals with the expected rate.

A rating of 100 means that there is no difference between the local mortality rate and the national average.

Cité de la santé’s figure was 92 in 2010-2011, well below the countrywide rate. More importantly, the Laval superhospital’s figures are down from five years ago, when that number stood at 103, slightly above the Canadian average.

Building safety culture

“During the past five years, we’ve worked intensively to raise awareness on the part of our employees, including doctors as well as everyone else who works on the clinical side,” Cité de la santé’s chief of communications, Matthieu Vachon, told The Suburban in an interview.

Vachon said that the hospital has succeeded by putting the accent on learning from its experience.

“We always review major events to find out how and why they happened,” he continued.

“If a death is linked to a particular event, we make sure that we gather all the people involved, study what happened and work out what procedures or other measures we can take to ensure that this sort of thing doesn’t recur.”

He explained that a great deal of effort was needed to shift the workplace culture from accusations and sanctions to learning and prevention.

“We put a strong accent on that,” Vachon underscored. “The key is that we don’t blame people.”

“That way, employees feel comfortable reporting something that has occurred, knowing that by doing so they will prevent future events that could lead to a death.”

“A culture takes a long time to change,” Vachon acknowledged. “We put a lot of effort into that, which has been a big factor in the decrease that you see since 2007.”

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